Although one might think that a manifesto about the tiny house movement is unnecessary, that the reasons for a tiny house have been repeated over and over, I constantly read from various sources–basically comments on articles–foolish remarks by people who seem not to have a clue or appear to have a psychological resistance to the concept of a tiny house. So many people have grown up with the concept that one goes to college, climbs the ladder and straddles themselves with a mortgage, cars and things. To many, this connotes success, especially in the eyes of others. They find it painful when confronted with someone who has such an alien vision of life as to not care for symbols, or not desirous of debt and financial stagnation. In fact, they have such feeling of well-being so deeply entwined with the consumption of things that consumption IS well-being, the more money one has the bigger the house, the larger the car, the more conspicuous the toys.
The Tiny House Movement derides and debunks these notions and emphasizes the humanity of living. For these reasons, I state the various tenets by which many adhere:
- Money, money, money. One should not be irrevocably tied to a mortgage. Many people find fear in changing a career or financial situation due to the high cost of maintaining a residence. When one knows that every month large payments are due, one is burdened with a lack of flexibility, regardless of the stress or hardships of the work itself. And a house does not just have a mortgage, but also taxes, insurance and other pecuniary responsibilities.
- Large houses require great and consuming effort to maintain. Unless one can afford a gardener, a handyman, a maid or butler, generally one spends considerable hours that could better be spent in other pursuits, mowing, hammering, repairing or lifting while spending on tools, appliances and supplies of all kinds. The worry and stress of the anticipation of problems is enough to provide a well-developed ulcer.
- Although a house may be seen as an investment, markets are not always up and like anything else, values can fall. The money invested in a house is not necessarily the best asset. The incredible amount of money poured into a large house over a lifetime is enormous. The housing collapse from just a few years ago would not be nearly as bad to someone who lived in a tiny house. The tiny house most likely was paid for and so no underwater mortgage or foreclosure was in the mix. Therefore, equity was not lost and all the attendant troubles were not a part of the tiny house owner’s scenario.
- A tiny house owner may have different priorities. Perhaps he or she desires to travel. The cost of a couple of mortgage payments on a large house can pay the plane fare for a trip to most anywhere. Say the owner wishes to engage in socially active work in charities or reform movements. The extra time and money can allow for this. Say the owner is involved in an expensive hobby or athletic activity, here again, the extra money comes in handy. Freed from the usual cost of living, the tiny home owner has a great deal more options for living and working.
- And speaking of working, the tiny house owner has flexibility when it comes to employment. Not so anchored to a house, and therefore, to the nature of employment, the owner can take more risks when changing jobs or careers. To start over is not nearly as traumatic or difficult. Less work is necessary. Where one was once tied to at least 40 hours or more, some may find it possible to get by on less. Conversely, some who are workaholics or are not at home that often, can find the tiny house ideal due to less cleaning and maintenance. The whole basic concept is flexibility.
- For those with a tiny house on wheels, the various circumstances that one can imagine where it is necessary or desirable to move lends itself perfectly. The ability to takes one’s house with one is not accomplished with a large house. To decide to move across town closer to work or to a preferable location, appeals to some people, and of course, is not possible under usual circumstances.
- Age and infirmity are another reason for living in a tiny or small dwelling. A tiny house is much easier to clean and maintain. Some people at a certain age can no longer handle all the work that a large house demands. Things can be more readily accessible. Distances are not too great. A tiny house can be similar in square footage to elderly housing, but still retain the concept of independence. How many times has one heard the story of a house where the elderly resident, no longer capable of fixing its problems, finds the place decaying and dilapidated. Regardless of age, some do not want to spend excessive hours working on a house.
- For those in tune with the idea of living ecologically, a tiny house lowers the footprint. A tiny house uses less in creation, in maintenance and in energy. It costs less to build a tiny house. I costs less to heat or cool a tiny house. It cost less to keep up. Although a large house can be designed (expensively) to operate off the grid, a tiny house can do the job much more easily and efficiently. A tiny house simply uses fewer resources.
- A tiny house does not need to fit the image presented in the media. It does not have to be on wheels where it must be like a RV. (In repressive government areas, unfortunately, this is the only option.) It does not have to have an extremely small footprint with a short loft on one end. It does not have to be 200 square feet or less. The tiny house can fit the basic needs of the person or persons wanting to live there. The whole notion of a tiny house, in most cases, is to only require the space that is needed or desired for comfortable living without getting bogged down with debt and things. Millions of people already live in apartments or condos with similar small floor plans without the thought that they are somehow strange for doing so.
The purpose of this list, in my opinion, is to state the obvious, even though it does not appear obvious to some. This list is not necessarily complete and will be added to as time and thought allows. Not on this list is the most important and personal reason for a tiny house, because one should have the supreme ability to pursuit freedom and happiness with as little obstruction as possible.